2022 Senior World Championships

86kg 2022 World Championships Preview: Taylor vs Yazdani Rivalry - Round 5!

86kg 2022 World Championships Preview: Taylor vs Yazdani Rivalry - Round 5!

A preview and predictions for 86kg at the 2022 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

Aug 18, 2022 by Jon Kozak
86kg 2022 World Championships Preview: Taylor vs Yazdani Rivalry - Round 5!

World and Olympic champion David Taylor will represent the United States at 86kg at the world championships and will wrestle on September 15-16 in Belgrade, Serbia. Check out the full preview below to get to know the 86kg field better and find out who the biggest challengers will be to Taylor at Worlds.

The top 8 wrestlers will be seeded at the world championships based on points accumulated at rankings events since the Tokyo Olympics. Of all the weights, the seeds at 86kg are the truest in representing the weight's top wrestlers. 

86kg Seeds:

  1. Hassan Yazdani, IRI
  2. David Taylor, USA
  3. Myles Amine, SMR
  4. Abubakr Abakarov, AZE
  5. Boris Makoev, SVK
  6. Azamat Dauletbeekov, KAZ
  7. Ethan Ramos, PUR
  8. Fatih Erdin, TUR

Favorites

The best wrestlers in the field:

  • Hassan Yazdani, IRI
  • David Taylor, USA

Since 2017, every world or Olympic gold medal at 86kg was won by either Hassan Yazdani or David Taylor. Yazdani won world titles in 2017, 2019, and 2021 while Taylor won world gold in 2018 and Olympic gold in 2021. Yazdani and Taylor’s rivalry might be the greatest in all of wrestling right now and we’re likely to see a rematch in this year’s world finals. 

Taylor owned the first three matches against Yazdani winning at the 2017 world cup, 2018 world championships, and Tokyo Olympics. While Taylor came out on top each time, every match was a back-and-forth battle with one or two exchanges being the difference in the outcome. In fact, in all three of Taylor’s wins, Yazdani had built a lead in the first period before Taylor was able to chase him down in the second period. Most of their matches have been a “tale of 2 periods” with Yazdani outscoring Taylor by a combined 12-4 in the first period, but Taylor outscoring Yazdani by a combined 21-6 in the second period. Taylor clearly used his pace to wear Yazdani down to get the win in the first 3 matches.

Taylor’s win over Yazdani at the 2018 World Championships:

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Taylor’s win over Yazdani in the Olympic Finals:


Last year, Yazdani finally got his revenge in the 2021 world finals where he beat Taylor 6-2. In that match, Yazdani built a 2-0 lead at the break and for the first time in their series, he was able to outscore Taylor in the second period. Does that mean Yazdani has cracked the code and figured out how to beat Taylor? Or will Taylor get his revenge this year?

It can’t be overstated how far ahead Taylor and Yazdani are from the rest of the field at 86kg or how fierce their rivalry is. Should they meet again in the 2022 world finals, there are sure to be fireworks!

Yazdani's win over Taylor in the 2021 world finals:

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Contenders

The group with the most potential to medal or challenge the favorites:

  • Myles Amine, SMR
  • Abubakr Abakarov, AZE
  • Boris Makoev, SVK
  • Azamat Dauletbekov, KAZ
  • Osman Gocen / Fatih Erdin, TUR

The next group of wrestlers at 86kg are all separated by the slimmest of margins. Leading the way in this group is Olympic bronze medalist Myles Amine. The 5-time All-American has established himself as the clear #3 in this weight behind Taylor and Yazdani. On top of his Olympic medal, Amine won a European Championship this year and a Mediterranean Games title where he defeated world medalists Abubakr Abakarov and Fatih Erdin in the respective finals. 

Likely meeting Amine in the quarter-finals will be Kazakhstan’s Azamat Dauletbekov. At last year’s worlds, Dauletbekov came up just short of a medal losing 3-0 to Artur Naifonov (RUS) in the bronze medal match. However, this year Dauletbekov has won both the Asain Championships in April and the Tunisian ranking series event in July proving he’s a medal threat in Serbia. 

Dauletbekov’s win over Deepak Punia in the 2022 Asian Championship Finals:

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Azerbaijan’s Abubakr Abakarov broke through at the world championships last year when he defeated Boris Makoev in the bronze medal match 9-6. Abakarov has had a fantastic year in 2022 winning the Matteo Pellicone, U23 European Championships, Dan Kolov, and placing 2nd at Euros. Abakarov will likely have to get by Makoev once again in the quarter-finals for a shot at a medal and a potential semi-final match against defending world champ Hassan Yazdani. As a 2017 world silver medalist, Makoev should not be counted out in the match against Abakarov and is equally capable of bringing home a medal from Serbia.

Abakarov's win over Makoev in the 2021 world bronze medal match:

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Turkey has two contenders at 86kg in Fatih Erdin and Osman Gocen. Erdin, a 2018 world silver medalist, is the more accomplished wrestler and defeated Gocen at Turkey’s national tournament last December. Despite the loss, Gocen represented Turkey at the 2022 European Championships where he came away with bronze losing only to Myles Amine (6-6). Erdin also lost to Amine in the finals of the Mediterranean Games (4-1) but defeated Dauletbekov at the ranking series tournament in Kazakhstan. Both Gocen and Erdin have the potential to medal at the world championships and will be dangerous competitors in this field. 

Sleepers And Landmines

The group that isn't projected to medal right now but has big potential to "blow up" the bracket:

  • Deepak Punia, IND
  • Bekzod Abdurakhmanov / Javrail Shapiev, UZB

Though he’s a past world silver medalist, Deepak Punia should be considered a major landmine in this bracket. First, he won’t be seeded but will be randomly drawn into the bracket meaning he could knock off anyone not named David Taylor or Hassan Yazdani in the very first round. Punia has been a consistent medal threat at 86kg since 2019 but he's also been wildly inconsistent, frequently dropping matches to uncredentialed opponents. Punia could make a deep run in this bracket or lose in the first round to one of the contenders. He’s a true wild card and will be interesting to watch this year at worlds. 

Punia’s win in the 2022 Asian Semi-Finals:

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Uzbekistan has two interesting contenders at 86kg in Javrail Shapiev and Bekzod Abdurakhmonov. After winning Olympic bronze at 74kg, Bekzod went up to 86 and won a bronze medal at the Yasar Dogu in February before failing to place at the ranking series tournament in June. There’s a chance we see him down at 79kg come worlds but that has yet to be announced. Shapiev is an interesting landmine in his own right after placing 5th at the Olympics where he lost only losing to Hassan Yazdani and Artur Naifonov. 

Shapiev’s win in the 2021 Asian Championship finals:

Javrail Shapiev vs Zushen Lin

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Predictions

The rematch is imminent - Round 5, David Taylor vs Hassan Yazdani. While there are many outstanding competitors in this bracket, it would be one of the biggest upsets of all time if either Taylor or Yazdani lose before the finals. Should they meet for gold, expect a hard-fought battle similar to their 2 matches last year at the Olympics and world championships. My prediction, David Taylor comes out on top and gets revenge from the 2021 world finals match. Whoever wins, the match should be absolutely incredible.

Gold: David Taylor, USA

Silver: Hassan Yazdani, IRI

Bronze: Myles Amine, SMR

Bronze: Abubakr Abakarov, AZE


Get to know the 86kg field even better by looking at our World Championships Rankings - a ranking of the top 10 guys in every weight class based on head-to-head wins.